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 Response Page - Peter Hutchinson  Interview -  Policy Leadership by Foundations, & Teacher excellence.   


These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the 
Peter Hutchinson  Interview of 10-17-08.

 
The questions:

_7.9 average___ On a scale of (0) strong disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) strong agreement, do foundations need to play a stronger leadership role on issues fundamental to the future of the Twin Cities area and Minnesota?

_7.9 average___ On a scale of (0) strong disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) strong agreement, is teacher competency central to the question of student achievement, as Hutchinson outlined?

_6.7 average___ On a scale of (0) strong disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) strong agreement, should foundations now play a leadership role on ways to improve the quality of public affairs information, given the decline of traditional news media?


Ed Dirkswager (10) (5) (10)
Note that I said that I was neutral relative to question 2 on the centrality of teacher competence. I think teacher competency is absolutely essential and required for student achievement so perhaps a 10 would be more proper if I though that wouldn't be misleadingly incomplete. Better teachers are a necessary but not sufficient condition. Peter is focusing on one half of the problem. The other half is that we must transform teaching into a better job. Peter's half is "better people for the job". The other half is a "better job for the people". There is a great deal of evidence which shows that teacher retention is directly correlated with the amount of influence/control teachers have over their work life. I believe that one can also infer from these data that the self selection into the teaching profession would be much different if teaching were more professional, i.e. where teachers have more influence/control. Attracting the best and the brightest and teaching them how to teach will not work, in my opinion, unless fundamental changes are made in what a teacher experiences on the job. The key to good schools is motivated teachers and motivated students. This is the engine that drives innovation and performance.

Gary Clements
Weighing in on Question 2, I'd rather say teacher INcompetency is central to student achievement. As a retired high school librarian, and junior high English teacher, I have seen both ends of the teacher competency scene. As a student long ago, I lived both ends of the teacher competency scene.  I survived the less capable because I had strong support from home, and a consistent school experience in the same system all the way through.  I flourished more with the more competent teachers, and certainly we should always strive to attract the most capable people, and give them the kinds of working motivations that Ed Dirkswager expresses above.  But highly competent teachers alone won't make the difference.  I have teacher friends in St. Paul who talk about the high (sometimes over 50%) turnover of the student population during a single school year. This means that our measures of student achievement, whether it is for the No Child Left Behind requirements, or the Minnesota Comprehensives, or whatever, are testing a mixed population, some of whom may have been at the school for just weeks, some slightly longer, some all year, and some for multiple years. Yet in the case of the NCLB scenario, if some of those students don't test well, it is the SCHOOL, not the student, that is deemed to be making "insufficient progress".  How illogical is that?
President elect Barak Obama, in ads and in debates, has stressed that parents must take an active part if education is to be successful.... "Read to your children", he says, "Go to conferences, make sure their homework is done...."  I can only hope we find some ways to motivate parents and students to take the responsibility they need to take. This simply has to happen if testing results are going to really improve very much.
In Minnesota, teachers who cannot create and maintain a classroom environment conducive to learning are able to be moved out of the system.  The process is in place, but it is sometimes not used in timely fashion by administrators whose hands are very full of other duties.  Kids being kids, less learning happens when a truly INcompetent teacher is in charge.  But much achievement can happen when parents and students are actively involved, even if the teacher isn't an "all star".  Somehow, the motivation has to be shared. Let's think outside the box..... perhaps rewarding a certain achievement level in order to get a driver's license at 16?  Or to be able to consume alcohol at 19 instead of 21?  Or......your ideas?

Mark Ritchie
Excellent summary -- thank you. Let me know when you want to talk about the state of Minnesota's democracy.

Chuck Slocum (10) (10) (5)
Peter is an extraordinary strategist and thinker whose focus at the Bush Foundation is, perhaps, a template for other similar organizations.

Charles Lutz (10) (10) (9)

Bill Frenzel (6) (3) (6)

On questions #1 & 3, I answer with a resounding maybe. If all foundations were
headed by Peter Hutchinson and his board, I would be more certain of #1.

On question #2, speaking from a position of ignorance and uncertainty, I say no. I
believe that parental guidance (or conditions in the home, or whatever you may
call it) is far and away the determining factor.

Paul Hauge (10) (9) (10)

Robert A. Freeman (8) (10) (6)

Question 1: Foundations should do an honest assessment of issues where they can make an impact.

Question 2: Hutchinson's example of 1/4 teachers making it to 5 years points to tremendous possibilities to reduce cost in the system and use those funds to improve other areas.

Question 3: Again, foundations should identify whether this is something they can make an impact on.

Ann Berget (5) (3) (8)

I was a member of the Mpls. School Board that hired Peter Hutchinson/Public Strategies as Superintendent in 1993. I worked with Peter on a daily basis for over four years. Hands down, he is one of the most original and grounded thinkers I have ever encountered. In those four short years, MPS made enormous progress in identifying the critical factors in leadership and student success, and in earning community trust through accountability and openness. Peter is one of my personal heroes.

John Cairns
Very interesting work you are doing.. I will start looking for dates when I can participate.
Would your target folks be interested in my giving a presentation on the state of the industry from my point of view of counsel to many schools in Minnesota and nationally?

Vici Oshiro (10) (10) (10)
Teacher competency is central to student achievement and I hope as Bush Foundation explores this aspect of the problem they find ways to define both teacher responsibilities and teacher competency in ways that make the profession more attractive.

In recent years I have known many teachers who work such long hours that it is difficult for them to both teach and have a strong family life of their own. That may work for those who either have no kids or whose kids are grown - but not others.

Wayne Jennings (8) (8) (8)
I agree about the role of foundations in leadership development except to realize that some foundations have weak leadership or board direction themselves and therefore won't participate as Hutchinson describes.

Donald H. Anderson (7) (4) (5)

Ignored in the presentation is the importance of/or not of salaries. Are persons who would make competent teachers going into other professions that pay better without the public scorn that accompanies any education fund increases or not?

Bob White (10) (8) (8)
Peter is one of the bright lights in a Minnesota constellation of leaders that has few real stars. His current job puts him in an excellent position to bring about the kinds of changes he summarized in your meeting.

Al Quie (10) (10) (5)

Dan Loritz (3) (10) (3)

On questions 1 and 3 there is always a worry that a foundation might lean to far left or right or that a given board of directors, or president, might want to steer it in a direction not anticipated by the founders. I tend to want the folks we elect to point the way. We can always turn them out if we disagree. Pretty hard to do that with a foundation.

Robert P. Mairs (6) (8) (5)

Tim McDonald (10) (5) (10)

John S. Adams (9) (10) (10)

Peter's response to item #12 was too glib. Whereas it is true that the large majority of young people do not read newspapers, it remains true that even our venerable MPR gets much of its news and many of its news leads from daily newspapers. In other words, the newspaper companies have been the "capital goods" of the news industry. What has changed is the distribution channels.

Looked at this way, it makes sense to consider how to sustain the news gathering and news analysis business if the capital goods (from the NYT to the StarTrib) are wasting away. For example, the NYT has maintained a world-wide fleet of reporters and stringers, but as that company declines, the number of its people in the field declines--and they are not being replaced.

Peter's goals cannot be achieved if the news business declines, as it has been declining. Efforts like MinnPost are weak substitutes for robust news gathering and editorial activity--which in the past were public goods provided by private companies. In this sense, the idea of a consortium of foundations buying and running a top-quality news organization may make a lot of sense. At today's prices, they can be bought very cheaply. The topic deserves serious analysis.

Sheila Kiscaden (7) (6) (4)

William Kuisle (5) (8) (0)


David Broden (10) (10) (7)
Peter Hutchinson as expected was visionary--not constrained by some ideology and has a purpose focused on addressing the future of the Upper Midwest population. The fact that a major foundation has rethought its purpose and goals and oriented those goals to how the area, communities and education prepare for a growth of Quality--emphasis in Quality of Life in the area is outstanding and something that few others in our area let alone the nation are really addressing in the depth and approach outlined by Hutchinson and for that matter by the thrusts of the Civic caucus. Capturing his new focus for the Bush foundation and listening and thinking about how it might evolve and how people across the area can become involved and through these activities have a visionary impact is a great for our minds.

Question 1: Yes--they must do this by maintaining the image and "Brand" of a foundation with a purpose and not become viewed as a political movement or a fad. The need to show seriousness with a strong link to value of the purpose that they are addressing and the ability to turn ideas to action and results. The foundations with the "Brand" if used effectively and not impacted by criticism of extreme groups--(foundations do not need to spend time defending their positions vs. doing their good)--that is perhaps one risk of demonstrating leadership--some will seek to derail the effort. Strong well stated and communicated leadership can do this well. One analogy that comes to mind is the strong Brand that Cargill has on quality of topics from environment to food etc and community partnership --this builds image and has an impact as a company--the foundations should do the same in stirring up interest and getting citizen interest in the challenges we face--all with a purpose and vision.

Question 2: There should be no question that the capability of the teacher in areas of the subjects taught and the skills for interaction with the student in way that communicates the learning is fundamental. Peter articulated the issue of mass education of quantity of teachers without thought for what the capability has been. The shift he outlined can have a major impact in the way students and the overall population view education --that is move back to education is a asset and quality business not just something we need to check the box on.


Question 3: This question is one on which I agree that Foundations should and must become a more active force in the information role --formulating and conveying a message. The concern I have is that this can be a major distraction or refocus of foundation activity and we cannot afford that the foundation message and activity move to reassign assets--people--money-time to the media vs. addressing the problems and solutions. With that in mind the foundations should play a role in shaping the future of media and information for the area benefit and value--but the implementation, funding, and staffing, must be broad based input and output. A new concept of some sort with links to foundations and other community, area, government, and business groups as well as citizens in general must stand up and say we need a effective voice to capture information and help for opinions and needs--this in itself could be one of the "communities" that Peter sought to say can evolve and get foundation support--a community of "information seekers" if someone can define the scope and who that group could begin with. Bottom line--foundations can be a start or stimulus but should not be the long term driver.

Jennifer Armstrong (5) (5) (10)
I realize Peter has moved on to other things, but I was disappointed your introduction didn't mention his book Price of Government. People need to read the book to get a better understanding of the relationship between the individual taxpayer and public investment, and how we have been disinvesting in MN for the past several years.

Question 1: I agree foundations do play an important role in raising awareness and supporting and promoting public discourse and civic engagement, such as with the Bush Foundation's support of Twin Cities Compass to raise awareness and help people make informed decisions based on reliable information. Where I get concerned is with the role foundations play in instrumental interventions. Foundations and corporations are accountable to their boards of directors and investors. Legislators and local elected officials are accountable to their constituents. In the scenario Peter describes, the foundation sets its goals, seeks out partners, and goes about effecting instrumental change. But who's to say these are the right goals? The right partners? The right interventions? In the foundation scenario, it's the boards of directors and the charters or donors they must be responsive to. Taking interventions that truly belong in the public domain out of that domain disempowers the citizenry. There's no public accountability.

For example, take education. Peter and the Bush Foundation have picked structural change in teacher preparation, recruitment and retention as their focus. This is just one piece in a highly complex picture. I am disappointed the foundation board did not use the work of Twin Cities Compass, the Brookings Institution, the Itasca Project, Myron Orfield and Jermaine Toney to focus on structural and institutional racism. We can diddle all we want with teacher quality, but that's not going to generate either the private or the public will needed to close the Achievement Gap. If I sat on the board and had the opportunity to voice my personal opinions in the priority setting process I would start at the end of the pipeline, employment demographics, and say "We'll know the Achievement Gap is closed when the diversity of our community is reflected in the full continuum of employment occupations." From there, I would ask where are the blockages in the pipeline and how do we help the community address them? But I would leave the onus on the community because that's where the problems, and the solutions, reside.

But you see, I don't sit on the board. I don't have a voice in the decisions that are made at the Bush Foundation. I do have a voice when talking with my state and local elected officials. My role as a citizen and a taxpayer gives me a legitimacy that I don't have in the charitable arena. And therein lies the problem when we look to foundations and nonprofits to solve the problems that more appropriately reside in the public domain.

I do concur the system is broken, and fully endorse the foundation's other goals related to leadership development, civic engagement, and empowerment. Teach a man to fish...

Question 2: Hmmmm.... I wouldn't say no, but then I wouldn't say it's either the source of or the solution to the problems.

Question 3: Absolutely. This is the basis for informed decision-making.

Bill Hamm (9) (10) (8)
Question 1: I always have a little fear of foundations deciding what is a fundamentally important issue and what is not. So long as their efforts encourage examination of all possibilities instead of trying to promote premier possibilities I can look at their efforts philanthropically. The trick is to encourage involvement across all issues without organizational entanglements hindering honesty and credibility.

Question 2: I think that is the first 10 I have given but it is fitting. Four of my aunts were teachers from the upper levels of their respective classes and in every way different from today's crop. They were strong, independent minded, Republican, feminists of the pre-union days, (teachers unionized as a rider to the 1964 Civil Rights Act). They loved, understood, and supported the liberal arts based system of competition that proved teachers and curriculum. They were teachers in the true since of the word, (teach: to impart the knowledge of the subject matter being taught). Take a look at the psychology behind present teacher selection and performance standards and you will find a disturbing trend away from individualism to a standard "team player" mentality. It is now more important that you are part of the team than that you are an exceptional part of that team as we encouraged under the old system.

Question 3: Some of us have seen how leadership changes can shift the organizational structure and direction of foundations in a relatively short time. We here in the USA are potentially about to see a very solid shift toward a more socialist solution as a Democrat power surge takes hold and the movement seeks to fulfill its goals. If a foundation's push for involvement and leadership building starts to lean toward that movement and starts to take on a persona of support for that movement, then the effort ceases to be anything but part of the whole. The pureness of the effort must not be tainted by the weakness of intellect. Case in point, the "Blandin Foundation", who in their zeal in years gone by to support education and the new elements of the "education reform movement" used their money to support a large number of these failed efforts. A more national example was a program called "Guided Study" for the autistic that was clearly proven to be psychologically addictive to the non autistic participants but absolutely worthless for the autistic children yet a great deal of foundation monies supported this foolishness. In the end the effort will be no better than the hearts and souls of the foundation's members.

Steve Alderson (5) (10) (8)
I have followed the Civic Caucus discussions with interest and with growing respect for the efforts of Verne and Paul to continue meaningful debate on public issues. I am nonetheless dissatisfied and will now endanger my reputation by sounding like a disgruntled old timer who should just be put out to pasture.

With due respect to Peter who has always been sharp on the issues and more willing than most of us to try to find new solutions I am sick and tired of you guys calling on all these old gray heads who once represented the brightest and best of the Minnesota public strategists. We are almost all more than 70 years old now. We always thought we could think our way to a better society and life style. Our model has been the Harvard or University of Minnesota model. That model says with enough research and enough polite discussion we will arrive at some near utopian solutions to problems that are tens of thousands of years in the making. That is not working and in ten years most of us will not be here to experience the continued failures.

Give it up and go find some young guys with real initiative like the fellow who is out teaching his college dorm mates to save energy. The future of Minnesota is no longer in the hands of those born in the depression. Read Socrates again and recall the importance of learning the value of commitment to the values and laws of the state and the need for state leaders to know what is going on.

One example will suffice to show my irritation with the lack of common sense. If energy is such an issue for heaven's sake just reach for the light switches. Those aerial photos that demonstrate that we have lighted whole continents all night reveal the willingness to waste energy. If we can not confront simple problems like that how do we think we can begin to meet the issues of environmental destruction which will surely drop the population of the globe by 50% in just a century or so.

There, I got some of it off my chest. I have said before that I am glad that I no longer bear any real responsibility for the future because I have little future left. What I do believe is that there is a generation coming along that is headed for certain disaster unless we change the concept of the "most powerful nation on earth" to a concept of "one of the guys who need to share". I believe there are many young people out there who want that model as well. Let's start to find younger leaders who are wise to what is going on and see if the ancients like myself can't just be given a new fishing pole and be encouraged to relax.

David Hutcheson (9) (9) (9)
With regard to the second of the three questions, teacher competency is of course crucial to success. Competency can't be judged simply from GPA's in college. So how will it be evaluated? I think there might be some lessons to be learned from the military services, about how to identify and move forward those individuals in a large body of professionals who will do the best job of leading and supervising their colleagues. If the traits and behaviors required for advancement are correctly aligned with those required for effectiveness, the people affected become surprisingly likely to develop those traits and behaviors more fully.

Dave Durenberger (10) (10) (4)
Wish I'd been there. Peter is gifted. The insights on education and the need for change are so very important. It is imperative that one of these foundations - maybe Bush because of Peter - be the leader and the others the co-operators in a regional effort to change pay and performance.

Clarence Shallbetter (7) (9) (8)
Disappointed at Peter's gloomy prediction about the furture of newspapers as significant sources of public information. Not sure where the creditable investigative stories will come from or what will happen when there are no reporters covering and reporting on the work of state and local legislative bodies.

Amy Mino (10) (5) (3)

Bob Olson (8) (10) (7)

With all the election talk about increasing salaries and benefits for teachers it was interesting to see that there are more teaching jobs available than there are teachers to fill the jobs. It was also interesting to hear that teachers are intellectually inferior to what they were 30 years ago and that a large percentage leave teaching within five years. Leadership is needed to "energize" teacher candidates and foundations have the means of withholding funds to communities that do not produce improvements. Community leadership is important and foundations can offer rewards based on achieving goals.

Ray Ayotte (10) (8) (8)

Tom Swain (10) (8) (8)


John Nowicki (3) (7) (0)

Jim Keller (5) (10) (10)

As foundations move from general giving to specific agendas, they must be extremely cautious that (1) the agenda is not promoting a specific beneficial interest of the funding entity (2) the agenda does not give the foundation a political identity (3) the agenda effort is obviously beneficial for the common good of the population toward whom it is directed (education - children), (sovereign nations - native Americans) etc.

Shirley Heaton
Strong agreement on all questions.

Pam Ellison (7) (7) (0)
Question 1: I think that foundations play an important role and should play a more important role in society today. I also believe that churches and houses of worship should carry out a larger role in assisting with issues of concern in the community. However, I am concerned that REAL REFORM needs to take place in our government. Our government is on life support right now, much of which has been self-inflicted. We confuse our democracy with the economic principles of a free market society and because if this we have neither. We cannot continue to ignore the public good and bail our corporations and financial institutions. My concern about this stems from an additional concern that government will completely abdicate their responsibilities to the citizen and allow foundations to take over more and more and government will be less and less involved in dealing with the few issues they are really SUPPOSED to be engaged in, such as infrastructure, the public safety and providing and free and equal education to everyone. Foundations may be one of the reasons that government continues to bail out corporations because foundations are outgrowths of corporations and are taking on an enormous amount of work through the non-profit sector. We need to have balance. I am not certain how we achieve this.

Question 2: After working in an urban high school since 2000, I have had the chance to be involved as a site council member since 1999 in the school I work on as well as sit on the Citizen Budget and Finance Committee for St. Paul Schools for two years as well as be involved in several activities in our school and community revolving around the topic of Education. I guess I would say that there are huge flaws in the way we are benchmarking and testing students under NCLB and that there has is the problem of rethinking and retooling education every four years with the State Administration changes. This is one of the HUGE reasons K-12 education is failing. We are constantly aiming for a moving target. When the whole plan and heart of education changes this often, there is no way for teachers and students to thrive in this type of environment. The fact is we educate much the same way we educated 50 + years ago, of course with the addition of computers and some bells and whistles. The fact remains that there are multiple issues facing us in education.

I think part of the problem is the fact that the way in which teachers are reviewed is sadly lacking, and there is very little corrective discipline going on in the schools to rid them of poor teachers with poor skills and lack of motivation to be any different. To simply focus on the teachers is wrong-headed. Most school districts are top heavy with administrative jobs and a larger portion of the money is being funneled into jobs that are questionable in this regard. Streamlining is almost unheard of, and yet now with declining enrollment, we are being forced to carefully study our best practices and streamline due to lack of money. In a way it is a blessing in disguise, because this is done so little. There are excellent teachers and the spectrum runs much like it does in any corporation or organization. There are those that are really strong team players and there are those that would rather stand and criticize as well as those that would rather not be present at all. This is nothing new across careers in all sectors of society. The responsibility falls on the administrators to set the tone and then be serious about disciplining those staff members that are not participating and if your handle the discipline process wisely and fairly, in spite working with union employees, the housecleaning can be simple and productive. We have bloated salaries for administrators, who do not have the guts to clean house once in awhile.

In addition, we are lagging behind the world in how we educate. Our literacy is abominable, or scores are low, and we are not progressively thinking how to meet the needs of our vastly diverse population. We need to offer not only the home schooling option, but allow students to learn online, continue the Post Secondary Educational Option so students can save on their tuition for college by actually getting credit for high school AND college at the same time, but we need to offer school for students at multiple times of the day to aid those parents who work opposite shifts their students go to school the ability to get all of their family members on a similar schedule. We actually need to lower class sizes and stop just talking about it.

We need to study what other countries are doing in education, especially those that are achieving well above our standards and be open-minded enough to consider other models here in the US. I am somewhat frustrated that the American Spirit has become the ONLY SPIRIT in our minds, and that sometimes our obstinate independence to DO IT OUR WAY, comes back to bite us. I am concerned that teachers are always the target, instead of the pundits out there realizing and admitting that much of the problem we have in our schools is that our teachers are required and demanded to wear the hats of the parent, the social worker, the mentor, and are required to do many things that have little to do with education and with achievement. You cannot continue to make teachers the whipping boy when we have exchanged public welfare, for corporate bailouts, and access to health care in favor of HMO profiteering. AND when and how DO we make parents accountable for there child's behavior. There are no teeth in the disciplinary procedures we have in the school system. Badly behaving students are just passed around from school to school, and with the passing their issues become greater. The MCA testing that is going on for NCLB has the school system benchmarking a group of students with the test, and then never retesting the original group to see if achievement has been successful, but testing a completely different group and rating THEM in order to judge if the schools
are doing their jobs.

This is contrary to good testing and good data practices, but nonetheless it is being used in our state currently. The other issue is when it comes to community development and how it is directly affecting education. We have this system of OPEN ENROLLMENT and also known as CHOICE in Minnesota. Any student can attend any school of their choice and we will bus them there. This practice is not only expensive but it is killing our communities. The school used to be the heart of the community and where neighbors met at events and kids formed deep friendships with other kids in the neighborhood that lasted a lifetime. Our neighborhoods used to be strong, vibrant and we all knew each other. NOW we all send our kids to different schools, so there is little inspiring us to get to know our neighbors, little to rally around in our neighborhood, and crime creeps in, because we don't talk to one another like years ago, our kids don't form friendships with other kids in the neighborhood, and it all impacts the strength of the community. Maybe if we moved back to neighborhood schools, cut transportation, and made our kids walk to school, this would change multiple elements in our communities. We would KNOW each other again, we would have stronger friendships and allegiances over not only school, but crime prevention, pride in how our community looks, more care given to each other, lowering taxes by cutting unnecessary transportation, and it would make the school system accountable to make EVERY school a GOOD school, instead of gentrifying one and ghetto-izing another. NO, it isn't just a problem of teachers.

One additional concern I have. We are no longer offering choice in our schools outside of the herding of students to four year colleges. What happened to offering the trades to students? There are many students who do not want to go to a four year college. They would rather get a trade and work in the trades right away. They come from families of poverty and they want to make an impact for themselves and their families as soon as possible. To take the opportunity of learning trades away is a HUGE mistake. In fact, my son who is finishing up his college one year ahead of time because he took the PSEO route in high school has now decided he will get certified as an EMT at the same time he is finishing his last semester of college, because he knows he may not be able to get a high enough paying job to pay his student loans when he graduates. You see, telling students that a four year college education is automatically going to get you a great job with great pay, is just a lie!!! I can tell you of countless students who have left a college with great grades and great attributes that are working for less than they can pay their loans with. Trades need to be brought back into the mix and taught side by side with academics. It can be done, and it IS done in many other countries that are faring much better in education than we are. Sorry for the long diatribe. Things are not as simplistic in education as Mr. Hutchinson would suggest.


Question 3: I disagree strongly on this. I believe a truly free press has to rise up from the people, and not be controlled or "helped" by foundations. Remember, foundations are just outgrowths of corporations, and corporations are only concerned with the profit. I also believe that the biggest issue with our current media is they do not really cover the issues that our citizens need to know about to be truly civically literate. We rarely see articles about our incarceration rates in comparison with other countries, we rarely hear about other substantive candidates for office outside of the GOP and Democratic parties, we rarely hear about the overstepping of law enforcement and what the Patriot Act really says. This is because we are fed what government wants to feed us through bloated media corporations that are merging daily. We have laws about monopolies in this country, but we do nothing but tacitly approve the mergers as they come to light. I do NOT believe this is a solution to our media woes. I actually think that with the inception of the internet, we are free to get news in many more places that are much more credible that what we read in our mainstream newspapers. Keeping the internet as free as possible is important when it comes to solid news. We can actually get online and read almost every important piece of legislation undertaken at the state and national level. I think traditional news media is failing because the average citizen hungers for hard news, instead of being bombarded by a constant barrage of "Good Question" tripe on WCCO, or talking about whether or not we are getting sex on a regular basis, that was part of their line-up just the other night. We have let our news organizations become tabloids, and discriminating citizens know it and hate it, and have opted out for better sources available at their fingertips on the internet.

Carolyn Ring (8) (4) (10)
There are incompetent teachers as there is in any profession. Often though, even very competent teachers have difficulty inspiring and encouraging students when truancy is not enforced at all levels and parents are absent or uncooperative. You can't teach students when they are not in class. As we are driving around during school hours, we cannot believe the school age children we see walking around, often in groups.

Scott Halstead (10) (10) (8)

Lyall Schwarzkopf (8) (9) (4)

Larry Schluter (7) (7) (8) 



 

    

The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Core participants include persons of varying political persuasions, reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

   Verne C. Johnson, chair;  Lee Canning,  Charles Clay, Bill Frenzel, 
Paul Gilje,  Jim Hetland,  John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  Wayne Popham  and  John Rollwagen.  


The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
8301 Creekside Circle #920,   Bloomington, MN 55437.  civiccaucus@comcast.net
Verne C. Johnson, chair, 952-835-4549,       Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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